How to understand & dial German Phone Numbers [Detailed Guide]

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Researched & written

by Yvonne Koppen


The format of a German phone number is somewhat different from other countries. In this article, we explain:

  • the formats of German landline and mobile phone numbers
  • which toll numbers to watch out for so you don’t get accidentally charged
  • how to find and get a German phone number

How do you write and dial a German phone number?

German phone numbers consist of three parts:

  1. The international country code for Germany +49 (Ländervorwahl)
  2. The local area code, for example, Dusseldorf (0)211 (Vorwahl)
  3. The individual number 5684962

In this example, the German phone number is written like this:

  • From outside of Germany: +49 211 5684962
  • From within Germany: 0211 5684962

The +49 is only necessary if you are calling a German number from abroad. The ‘+’ equals ‘00’, so if you cannot enter a ‘+’, just dial ‘00’. The ‘0’ at the beginning of the area code gets dropped when adding the +49 or 0049 beforehand. 

German landline phone number format

Here is a German landline phone number example: +49 211 1234567. The area code of German landline numbers is arranged by geography. Below you can find the area codes of the biggest German expat cities and a map for all of Germany. 

030 – Berlin 
089 – Munich 
040 – Hamburg 
069 – Frankfurt 
0211 – Dusseldorf 
0711 – Stuttgart  

If you are calling a landline phone number (Festnetz) in a city from another landline based in the same city, you can also drop the area code and only dial the individual phone number, such as 5684962. That is why you sometimes see these very short phone numbers advertised on the windows of local shops. The shop owners believe you know the area code of the city you are in.

German mobile phone number format

Here is an example of a German mobile phone number: +49 171 1234567. The area code of German mobile phone numbers has nothing to do with geography, so it is not really an area code per se. It used to be a network provider code, such as 0171 for Telekom, 0162 for Vodafone, and 0176 for O2, however since mobile phone numbers in Germany are portable from one provider to another, this is no longer accurate. 

Mobile phone numbers can have a 4 or 5 digit prefix and look like this: 0171 6895430 or like this 01513 6895430. When you want to call a German mobile phone number from abroad, the same rules as with landline numbers apply. You have to add the +49 or 0049 and drop the first 0 of the prefix: +49 171 6895430.

When calling from a mobile phone number in Germany, you can’t drop the area code or prefix. 

Simple Germany’s Hot Tip

Always save all phone numbers to your mobile phone directory with the international country code, so you can also call them from abroad. 

Special prefix phone numbers in Germany

There are many special prefix phone numbers in Germany (Sonderrufnummer), which are quite costly to call, even if you have a flat rate phone plan. Here are the most common ones:

0190 or 0900: These are most known as ‘erotic entertainment’ numbers; however, some customer hotlines also use these numbers. They are particularly expensive, with up to 25 euros per minute from landline numbers and even higher costs from mobile numbers. So call numbers starting with 0190 or 0900 with a lot of care and caution. 

0180: Mostly used as service numbers from companies. The wait loop needs to be free of charge, and once you talk to an employee, you pay max. 20 cents from a landline and 42 cents from a mobile number. 

0137: Mostly used by TV shows for telephone voting (e.g., Voice of Germany). One call usually costs 50 cents

0800: These are toll-free service phone numbers at no cost to you. 

Emergency phone numbers in Germany

Germany distinguishes between two emergency numbers:

  • 110 for emergencies requiring the police only
  • 112 for emergencies requiring medical assistance or firefighters

Never call any of these numbers if there is no real emergency. Operators on both numbers speak German and English. 112 is also the universal emergency number all over Europe. It is also the preset number when you enable an emergency SOS call from your cell phone.

How to find a phone number in Germany?

Do you remember the old days, when you had this massive phone directory book (Telefonbuch) to search for phone numbers within your country? Guess what, they still exist in Germany, but luckily they have also been digitalized. You can search for the phone number of any person or business at, provided the person or business is registered. That is if you don’t prefer Google to find the phone number of German businesses, which might be faster.

How to get a German phone number?

To get a German mobile phone number, you simply have to get a prepaid SIM card or sign up for a mobile phone contract. For a German landline phone number, you need to sign up for a home internet contract; it usually brings a landline phone number (Festnetz) with it. 

Read Our Related Guide

Best Internet Providers In Germany

Happy calling! 📞

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About the Author

Yvonne Koppen is a researcher and writer at Simple Germany, focusing on demystifying German bureaucracy for international skilled workers.

She has lived and worked abroad, which helps her understand how difficult a move to a new country can be. Beyond her professional pursuits, Yvonne loves to plan and go on road trips, puzzle, and do a triathlon here and there.

She is committed to creating accessible, empowering content through her writing and YouTube videos. Yvonne's passion for continuous learning and her ability to simplify complex topics make her an invaluable resource for expats seeking to navigate their new life in Germany.